Energy savings and renewable energy key to reaching EU emissions target by 2050 says new WWF report
Brussels, Belgium – If the European Union is serious about its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050, it must act now and prioritise energy savings and renewable energy over risky and damaging fossil fuels and nuclear power, according to a new WWF report published today. Without further action the EU will only reach a 40% emissions cut by 2050.The WWF report “Cutting energy related emissions the right way”, based on research by CE Delft, assesses the five decarbonisation scenarios presented in the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050. It shows that the Energy Roadmap only considers a relatively narrow range of decarbonisation options, all with roughly similar levels of renewable energy by 2030, and a significant residual fossil fuel liability through to 2050.
Jason Anderson, Head of Climate & Energy at WWF European Policy Office, said: “Renewable energy represents a group of proven solutions. By contrast, any reliance on the divisive and costly nuclear energy or unproven carbon capture and storage is courting failure on the road to 2050 energy decarbonization in the EU. The fourty year perspective also makes clear that while gas plays an important early role, its use must then diminish strongly over time, if we want to meet our climate goals.”
WWF’s report also demonstrates that the European Union could reap greater rewards from more ambitious options, such as 95% emissions reductions combining high renewable energy generation and high energy savings.
The report identifies four key lessons for achieving greater energy related emissions reductions, and thereby lowering the threat of climate change:
1. Energy savings are the key enabler for decarbonising the energy system;
2. Now is the window of opportunity for increasing renewable generation;
3. New electricity infrastructure can be ‘no-regrets’, but case is less clear for gas;
4. Aiming for 95% decarbonisation from the start is a game-changer
Jason Anderson concluded: “The spiraling economic, social and environmental cost of our current energy system, and the looming threat of climate change disaster, flip the burden of proof: anything other than sustainable renewables used efficiently should now have to justify their existence, not the other way around as has historically been the case.”
Note to the editors:
Unacceptable risks of climate change can only be avoided if developed countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020 and by 95% by 2050. Achieving this will improve the probability of staying below 2°C warming, and keeps WWF’s goal of a 1.5°C maximum within reach.
WWF’s vision of a world that is powered by 100% renewable energy sources by the middle of this century is achievable. While this tranformative effort demands significant investments, delivering it means we would save globally nearly €4 trillion per year by 2050 through energy efficiency and reduced fuel costs compared to a “business-as-usual” scenario.